Gender Differences in Physical Performance Characteristics of Elite Surfers

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Abstract

Parsonage, JR, Secomb, JL, Tran, TT, Farley, ORL, Nimphius, S, Lundgren, L, and Sheppard, JM. Gender differences in physical performance characteristics of elite surfers. J Strength Cond Res 31(9): 2417–2422, 2017—The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the gender differences in physical performance characteristics of elite surfers. Twenty competitive female surfers (CFS) and 20 competitive male surfers (CMS) performed a battery of physical performance tests: squat jump (SJ), isometric midthigh pull (IMTP), 15-m sprint paddle, and 400-m endurance paddle during a single testing session. All performance measures were significantly different between CFS and CMS (p < 0.01). Specifically, CMS produced greater peak force production (28.5%) and jumped higher (27.7%) in the SJ and produced greater normalized peak force during the IMTP (18.9%) compared with CFS. For paddling performance, CMS were faster over 5, 10, and 15 m (12.4%, 9.7%, and 10.9%), possessed a higher peak paddling velocity (11.3%), and recorded faster paddle times over 400 m (11.8%). The results of this study suggest that CMS exhibit superior physical performance characteristics than CFS, in relation to both the lower and upper body. Strength and conditioning practitioners should therefore implement a structured and periodized program to facilitate strength qualities that underpin surfing performance for all participants, but as highlighted in the current investigation, female surfers may have a greater window for adaptation and therefore vast benefit of targeting their underdeveloped physical qualities.

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